Sex abuse survivor to host concert in Saffron Walden to raise funds for support charity

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:00 21 February 2019

Cat Mackay has organised a concert at Fairycroft House in Saffron Walden. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Cat Mackay has organised a concert at Fairycroft House in Saffron Walden. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

A concert is being held at Fairycroft House in Saffron Walden to raise funds for the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse (CARA), organised by Cat Mackay, a child sex abuse survivor who has raised thousands for the charity.

Cat, who works in Saffron Walden, has raised thousands for the Colchester-based charity, which has outreach centres in Braintree and Great Dunmow, and the ‘Rock Against Abuse’ concert in Saffron Walden is her next fundraising effort.

“Since August last year I have raised £2,500 to help victims and survivors and I aim to raise as much awareness and support that I can,” Cat said.

Cat was 11-years-old when the abuse started and it lasted four years. It took her 43 years to tell her story and now she wants to use her personal experience to help others.

At the time, her brother had not long died and she was isolated and vulnerable. An older girl befriended her and introduced her to a man who made her feel grown up and bought her presents.

“He invited me to this party and that led to him raping me and him taking control,” Cat said. “He used fear to keep me quiet. From that, I had to do whatever he told me to do. He would stand by my house behind a tree or outside my school - that was his signal. He would take me to a house where there were lots of other children - I didn’t even recognise some of the accents there. I can still remember the gold rings, the cars, the smells, the furniture.”

He would take Cat to two places, one under a swimming pool, a place she revisited many years later when she disclosed to the police, where there would be a gathering of men and sometimes women too.

For the next four years, she was subjected to organised sexual abuse by numerous men and women. Her only escape came when her parents moved to another county. When she told the police, she spent seven hours telling them her story. Cat says even the officers on the case cried.

The police located some of the perpetrators and other victims, but some witnesses were deemed ‘unreliable’. The case remains open, but not active.

Cat was inspired to tell her story after she recognised signs that a family member was being groomed. She admired the bravery of that person and, after 43 years of keeping her ordeal secret, she hosted a private event in her garden and took to a stage to tell her story.

“I want to show them that it hasn’t ruined me,” she said. “I had kept this in a box for 43 years. The difference is that I now have the key. I might not get justice in my lifetime, but the only other way I can find closure is to use my personal experience and get out there and show that you can come through this.” CARA stepped in to help Cat through the constant flashbacks she was experiencing and helped her regain control. Now she wants to raise money for the charity to help people like her and set up workshops to support both victims and families.

Cat also recognises a gap in the system in educating parents and wants to host workshops for parents and teachers to recognise the signs of grooming.

Helen Parr, director at CARA, said: “We are very grateful to Cat and to these three amazing bands for all they are doing to help victims and survivors of sexual violence and child sexual abuse. It’s going to be great night and a fantastic way to mark CARA’s 30th year.”

Bands performing at the concert will be Blakwater, A Few Too Many (a local band) and Sounds Better Naked, an 80s cover band.

The concert is on Saturday at Fairycroft House in Saffron Walden from 7pm-11.30pm. Tickets are £5 on the door.

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